"Our problems are not going to be solved by a flash of brilliance, but rather by the work done day-by-day to make the hobby attractive to newcomers."
This spring, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans had the pleasure of speaking with John Hotchner about the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship program, a scholarship program run by the American Philatelic Society. YPLF supports young philatelists, offers them unique opportunities to attend stamp shows across the country, and connects them with experienced mentors in the philatelic world.
John Hotchner has been a longtime vocal supporter of the YPLF program. He has served as a mentor to several Fellows and sponsored a fellowship a few years ago.
Erin: John, can you tell our readers about yourself?
John: I'm a past president of the APS (1997-1999). I'm a philatelic writer with a regular column in Linn's . . . and published widely elsewhere. I actively collect USA and about 20 other countries. I'm also active as an accredited judge, exhibitor, APEX expert, and former member of the Postmaster General's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee (1998-2010). I retired from the U.S. State Department with 45 years of service. I've been given the APS Luff Award and the Collectors' Club of New York Liechtenstein Award, and signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in England in 2017.
So what led you to donate to the YPLF for the first time?
When Alex (Haimann) described the program as he saw it, his vision was so compelling that I thought it had real merit and could be not only successful, but a model.
What is your favorite result of the fellowship program to witness?
There are so many results, but the one I value most is the mutual support I see among the Fellows, both current and graduates. This will I think be an inspiration for them to continue in the hobby, and to be idea-generators for the future.
Would you say the program has grown over time, and how?
I'm not sure it has grown so much as evolved. The numbers of Fellows has risen a bit on average, but the content of the program has become more effective.
What do you hope to accomplish through your support of the program?
I'm a small player in this effort, but my goals are simply to see the program continue, and where I am called upon to do so, to be a mentor to Fellows and in that way contribute to our hobby institutions being vibrant into the future.
If you were talking to someone else about supporting YPLF, what would you tell them?
I emphasize its successes, the quality and eagerness to learn of the Fellows, the fact that it creates what will be life-long friends who will be oriented not only to be collectors, but to care about those involved in the hobby and its institutions.
The hobby prospers because of people who are willing to be involved in the trenches.
Is there something that you wish everyone in the hobby knew about YPLF?
Someone once said "Every adult needs a child to teach. It's the way adults learn." My involvement has been very much a two way street. Through dealing with Fellows, I have gotten maybe even more than I have given, in terms of fresh opinions and viewpoints, and the enthusiasm they bring to everything they do which can't help but rub off.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience of alumni, donors, current Fellows, and potential applicants? . . . (And potential donors?)
The hobby prospers because of people who are willing to be involved in the trenches. Our problems are not going to be solved by a flash of brilliance, but rather by the work done day-by-day to make the hobby attractive to newcomers. The Fellows, past and present, are making contributions and will in the future because they have learned through the YPLF program about the breadth of the hobby and to appreciate the efforts of those who have gone before to make it what it is today. It is a privilege to be involved in that process, and I encourage anyone thinking they might like to be involved to dive in. The water's fine!
Thank you for sharing and for supporting YPLF, John.
Are you wondering if you or someone you know should apply for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Program? Check out the exciting perks of being a Fellow!
- Receive a one-year APS membership
- Choose an area of interest: Author, Curator, Dealer, Designer, Exhibitor & Analyst
- Learn from an adult mentor
- Attend the Great American Stamp Show and Spring Meeting
- Attend Summer Seminar on Philately at the American Philatelic Center
- Interact with stamp collectors from around the United States